which fitness tracker is most accurate – Since the introduction of the Fitbit in 2009, wearable fitness trackers have taken the country by storm. These days it seems like everyone is sporting one of these little gadgets on their wrist or attached to a belt. The people who use them love them too. Give them a chance and they’ll tell you how many steps they’ve taken that day, how much weight they’ve lost, how their resting heart rate has improved, and so on

How fitness trackers work

Fitness trackers have a variety of different features, and some of them work better than others. Here’s a rundown of what fitness bands can do, as well as the technology behind them:

  • Count your steps . Almost all fitness trackers contain an accelerometer, a device that measures how fast something is changing its speed or direction. With this tool, the tracker can count the number of steps you take and measure your movements from lateral to side or awake and down.
  • Measure other movements . Fancier trackers also contain various other sensors to track your movement. For example, they can use a gyroscope, which can rotate in any direction around a fixed axis, to determine whether you are sitting, standing, or lying down. A barometer, which measures atmospheric pressure, can calculate your altitude to determine how many flights of stairs you have climbed. And a small GPS unit can track your location, which is useful for recording your route on a long run or bike ride.

Benefits of fitness trackers

Why do people love their fitness trackers so much? The main benefit, most of them will tell you, is that using the tracker motivates them to be more active. For many people, exercise is more rewarding when they can see black and white numbers telling them how well they are doing. They get more excited about reaching a specific goal, like 10,000 steps a day, than about the vague goal of being healthier.

Fitness trackers are designed to encourage this type of thinking. They send messages to cheer you up when you reach a goal, giving you an ego boost. Also, you can share the messages with your friends to let them know how active you are. For many people, this brings out their competitive instincts.

Studies on fitness trackers

Still, it’s unclear how good fitness trackers are at making people more active. Studies on the subject show mixed results.

For example, a 2015 study in the American Journal of Public Medicine (AJPM) followed one group of overweight women and pedometers another group. The women who wore the trackers increased their exercise levels by about 38 minutes per week. That’s far less than the 10,000 steps per day goal they were aiming for, but more than double what they were getting before. The control group did not increase their exercise levels at all.

Other benefits of fitness trackers

Fitness trackers can help you in other ways, too. For example, you can use them to:

  • Understand your overall health . Using a fitness tracker can help you determine if you’re getting enough steps each day to stay healthy. You can use it to see if you’re getting enough sleep or to measure your resting heart rate.
  • Measure progress toward goals . If any of these numbers aren’t what you’d like them to be, you can take steps to improve them, and the fitness tracker can help you see how the numbers change over time. This can help you figure out which strategies work or don’t work for you.
  • Train more effectively . If you’re trying to lose weight, a fitness tracker can show you when your heart rate is in the target zone for exercise. This can help you get the most benefit from your workouts. If you’re a serious athlete, a fitness tracker can track your speed and distance covered, so you can see how well your training regimen is working. If you’re just starting out, try a proven home workout plan.

Disadvantages of Fitness Trackers

Even if the benefits of a fitness tracker are uncertain, they would clearly be worth it if the devices were without drawbacks. But unfortunately, that’s not true. These gadgets have several drawbacks, including:

  • Cost A good fitness tracker can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. It’s possible to buy one for less, but most of the cheaper ones aren’t very good. The more features you poverty, the more you should expect to spend. For example, low-cost fitness trackers usually don’t have a built-in screen, so you have to use your smartphone to check the results. Features like GPS and a heart rate monitor also cost extra. The experts at PC Magazine say that serious athletes probably need to spend at least $150 for a fitness tracker that meets their needs.

Alternatives to fitness trackers

A fitness tracker isn’t the only tool you can use to monitor your exercise. There are other options that cost less that can do some, but not all, of what a fitness tracker does. Depending on what you want to measure, one of these cheaper tools might serve you just as well or better.

mobile health apps

There are a variety of fitness apps available for your smartphone that can do many of the same things fitness trackers do, and even some things they can’t. For example, these apps can: